Giving Back

Mayor's Gala on Friday, May 1 Will Honor Scotch Plains Volunteers

Scotch Plains Deputy Fire Chief John Lestarchick will be honored at the Mayor's Gala on Friday, May 1. Credits: Sean Conklin
Marie Leppert, pictured here with Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS Principal Dr. David Heisey, Laura Swiderski, and her brother, former NJ Governor Donald DiFrancesco, will be honored at the Scotch Plains Mayor's Gala.   Credits: Sean Conklin
Ruby Simmons has dedicated much of her life to preserving the memory of John Shippen, America's first golf pro, and the historic Shady Rest Country Club, the first black-owned golf and country club in the U.S. Credits: John Mooney
Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover says the 23rd annual Mayor's Gala will honor deserving residents. Credits: John Mooney

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The 23rd annual Scotch Plains Mayor’s Gala takes place on Friday, May 1, 2015, at Pantagis Renaissance from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. It features a cocktail hour, dinner dance with live music by the “Black Ties” and D.J. Chris Waryn, tricky tray, and silent auction fundraisers. Proceeds will benefit the organizations with which the honorees are associated.

The honorees for volunteer work that has made a positive impact for on the Scotch Plains community are:

Marie Leppert

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A past president of The College Club of Fanwood-Scotch Plains, Marie Leppert is being recognized for her long involvement with the organization, which has awarded scholarships totaling more than one-half million dollars (unadjusted for inflation) since its inception.

John Lestarchick

Recently promoted to deputy chief of the Scotch Plains Fire Department, John Listarchick has served the community for three decades.

Ruby and Thurman Simmons

The John Shippen Memorial Golf Foundation was incorporated as a 501c non-profit foundation in 1996 with Thurman Simmons as its first Chairman. The foundation commemorates the Shady Rest Golf and Country Club -- America's first black-owned golf course -- and its resident professional, John Shippen, the club’s long time professional and greens supervisor. Through the efforts of Scholarship Committee Chairwoman Ruby Simmons, the Foundation has awarded scholarships to area minority youth demonstrating academic prowess and skill in golf and continues its mission of developing and increasing minority youth interest in the sport.

The Preserve Shady Rest Committee

The Preserve Shady Rest Committee seeks to preserve and restore the historic Shady Rest Clubhouse, by seeking historic landmark status, and to create a museum featuring pictures, news articles, memorabilia from the club, and the possessions of John Shippen to highlight the Shady Rest's legacy for future generations.

"This is going to be a wonderful evening recognizing the important contributions of these honorees to our community," said Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover. "Ticket sales have been brisk, and we hope to raise as much money as possible to support these honorees and their respective organizations. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend, and I look forward to seeing as many people as possible."

Tickets can be purchased at the Scotch Plains Recreation Department or online at for $70 per person. For more information, call (908) 322-6700 ext. 223 or click here.


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Scotch Plains/Fanwood

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Upcoming Events


Thu, February 22, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend "Wacky Winter Olympics" Open House



Thu, February 22, 4:00 PM

JCC, Scotch Plains

4th Annual Family Hamantash Bake


Thu, February 22, 5:00 PM

Barnes & Noble, Clark

Purim Story& Crafts Hour at Barnes & Noble